Court rejects Boys Scouts’ appeal in sexual abuse case

A San Antonio appeals court on Wednesday denied the Boy Scouts of America’s appeal of an order requiring the group to disclose years of so-called perversion files in a child abuse lawsuit.

The 4th Texas Court of Appeals’ brief order Wednesday rejects the Scouts’ request for a reversal of a lower-court order on internal “ineligible volunteer” files of abuse complaints within the organization. Files from 1959 to 1985 were publicly revealed in an Oregon case and showed a decadeslong cover-up of sexual abuse allegations by Scout officials.

Since then, courts in California and Minnesota have ordered the Scouts to turn over more recent files to attorneys.

In Texas, BSA is being sued by a former Scout who says he was sexually assaulted by an assistant scoutmaster now in prison. Paul Mones, an attorney for the former Scout, is currently seeking internal files from 1996 to 2006.

The appeals court on Wednesday didn’t set a deadline to produce the files, but said it would issue an opinion at a later date.

Attorneys for BSA have argued that the organization had no knowledge or files on the assistant scoutmaster, James Hiatt, and no file was created until he was charged. Releasing files concerning other people would intrude on the privacy of those named, alleged victims and the people who reported allegations, the attorneys argued in a recent court filing.

“Youth protection is of paramount importance to the Boy Scouts of America,” Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said Wednesday. “We are thankful the court reviewed this matter and will comply with its order.”